From a copy of a letter from William Tomison at Cumberland to Robert Longmoor at Hudson House
Mar. 15 1779
..."as to the Indians not bringing furrs I am not in the least surprised at as the greater part can be supplied for Bringing Provisions, indeed I am positive that Indians will never trouble themselves with any Labourious work when they can live without. By the present proceedings of the Canadian Traders Striving against each other not only will but has already drove the Indians into a State of Debauch and Indolence. it is a great Pity such a body of Natives should be destroyed by a parcel of wild fellows Such as Mac Cormick going about Sword in hand threatening the Natives to make them trade with them whither they will or no"...
Copy of a letter from Wm Tomison at Cumberland House
Feb. 17 1782
..." I have sent two men away with the Sandfly and Pafsasquel tumen"...
..."it gives me great pain to hear from your Quarter of the Deaths of so many brave Indians but indeed it is not only with you alone for here we have been buried upwards of Thirty for which number there is only two recover'd and they are but Children. The U'Basqui'au Indians is all dead and ten tents of Pegogemy and Cowinetow Indians that was pitching towards this place all dead"...
..."You will endeavour to acertain"..."also from what tribe this Cruel Disorder first sprung, as to myself am of the Opinion that it came from the Snake Indians and have been conveyed to them by those that trade in the Mifsisippi"...
Excerpt of a letter from George Hudson at Cumberland House
Sept.9 1782 Hudson House Journal Reel 1M63
" Magnus Slater Supposed by all to have been dead, arrived here Sept. 4th with an Indian Woman he Employed to bring him up the Small River to the House. He came on his journey in the spring very well till within three Days of the House turning then snow Blind he proceeded down the River till she went away but got no further than a little below A'Basquiau, living upon Scraping of Sticks withered Berres, and sometimes forced to swallow Tobacco by way of nourishment. The Dog that was with him died of Hunger, him He also eat, He at last by crawling about found an old Canoe, Which he mended & proceeded down to the Head of the Branches. there he built a small House, made him a Drag of Willows and caught a few Small Jacks which he lived on all the Summer. At last recovering his strength he Ventured in search of the House to which he was 17 Days coming having seen no living Creature but wild Beast for 6 Months and 5 Days."
Oct. 3 1783
" three Indian Men Arrived from the Southward to wait for the Black Indian coming from York Fort and they have the News of York Fort being taken by the French."
On the way from York to Cumberland Wm. Tomison
Aug. 23 1784
" did not proceed several of the young hands not being able to walk their legs and feet being much swelled"
Sept. 9 1784
" James Davey stroled away into the woods this morning and was lost for about six hours presently after being mifsed I sent a party of English and Indians in search of him which brought him back."
Cumberland House Malcolm Ross?
Dec. 5 1784
" this morning Edward Umphreville and two Canadians came here to deliver a message from Mr. Holmes which was as follows I find you are to? Intimate with William Tomison but I desire for the future that you have no correspondence with that impertinant scoundrel but as he gave no reason for calling me, so I return him the same compliment back again."
Cumberland House Wm Tomison
Jan. 14 1785
" These inform me that a starved Indian Man & his Son had a narrow escape of being killed by a grizzle Bear two months agoe? they were? both very much torn it rendered them uncapable of Hunting any thing ever since."
William Tomison at Cumberland House to Humphrey Marten
May 30 1786
" By the arrival of James Saunderson and Wm Flett Sen. on the 3rd Jan. 1786 I received your letter which gave me great pleasure to hear of the safe Arrival of their honors ship but in the other respects much to the Contrary, by the false Information you have alledged against me. In the first place sir, you say you have often solicited me to leave with you a written list of what every? necefsary to be indented for -
Sir you know some years ago I left with you a list of nine articles of sundry sorts of Beads taken out of the Bead ?? which I never heard of to this day. at other times I have often told you about having a house erected in the Bungee? Country for the greater dispatch of Business. this I also have never heard of whither you ever Informed The Honourable Board thereof I am not to determine, but I am Apt to believe you only thought me a foolish Boy and not fit to propose any such thing. As to Charles Ishams charge I mind it not, as he is a person well known not to speak truth at all times, and therefore ought not to be credited. Sir as to what you have seen in my Journal entry? 17th Oct. you cannot take hold of, as you name is not mentioned; without guilty consciences accuse themselves. Sir I do not know what right you have to inspect my Journal, or the Account Book as you are not accountable for any Goods I receive when once its put without the Warehouse door. Sir I have one thing to say if you get another Man to stay as long under you as I have been with as few words then I will give you every farthing I have earnt in the Honble Hudsons Bay Companys Service - Sir as to the great act of Benevolence you mention in your letter what I possefs shall be at your Service the first Opportunity, which is a Watch I received from you on my return from Albany with your Children, & is the only thing I ever made use of, as to the Old Cloaths you gave me on my first entering the Inland Service, was with you in the Forts at the inglorious Surrender of the Honble Hudsons Bay Comp. & Effects to a parcel of Rebels - Sir I am ready and willing to answer every bad Actions I have commited but to ask pardon from mortal man I never will. Should I be cut into Five hundred pieces and that only belongs to God and the King and not to arbitrary power Sir you say you will proclaim me a dark cowardly afsasin to my Employers and to every one that knows me, Sir take care to lay a good foundation for your own character before you Blast? mine? as the prefs is fire? for every poor man. Sir you will please to remember That I enquired of you How I should behave in regard to the Canadians who were encroaching on the Companys Liberty to which you gave me no Answer but afterwards you calld? me and seemed to be very angry and told me I had asked you a very deep Question and gave me for Answer that I was to tell them to go off the Ground which would be of little force without a Written Order for so doing. I have sent you several Packages of Furrs as per? enclosed? Numbers, also ? ? of Trading Goods, and Conclude wishing succefs to the Companys affairs and that you may have a better opinion of other Men than you have Me And am the Greatly Injured
P.S. The Indians are paid 4 Beaver for each Bundle they carry down and have nothing to receive from you on that head but by way of Friendship."
Cumberland House George Hudson
Apr. 8 1787
" George Charles had the Misfortune to freeze the back part of his heel on the 1st January not anywise bad but by neglect of taking care and cleansing it has turned so bad with a great Quantity of proud flesh. I was obliged to cut it this Day and apply blue Vitriol to it but not having any knowledge in any of the kind I am ? affraid it will prove dangerous unlefs there was some skilful person in surgery to inspect it. all that can be done with it is to wash it often in the Liquor in which Juniper bark and country tea is boiled in which is certainly of a very cleansing Nature".
May 14 1787
" Almost healed up"
Cumberland House George Hudson
Aug. 4 1787
" Muschettos very troublesome it is not pofsible to do anything without Doors and has been for nigh 3 weeks."
Cumberland House Malcolm Ross
Aug. 11 1789
" we helped David Thompson out of his bed and set him on a seat he sat nigh 3 hours which is the only time he has been able to try to set up since Mr. William Tomison went off from here." [June 9]
Cumberland House Malcolm Ross
Aug. 20 1789
" at noon arrived 2 Canoes of the Indians that accompanied Mr. William Tomison to York Factory they brought 6 Bundles of Cloth and Tobacco 4 Guns and 2 kettles they inform me of their getting drunk the day that they left York Factory and Quarreled amongst themselves and one man has got his nose bitten off which occaisioned him to send back his Cargo to York Factory another has lost part of the nose one Thumb and one finger."...
Nov. 23 1789
"David Thomson and John Stickler still lame.
Cumberland House Journal
Dec. 4 1789
" In the Evening a Canadian whose name is Joseph Laundrie came to the House to be employed in your honors service he left his Master a Mr. Mckenzie the beginning of last Summer since that time he has lived by himself upon fish caught with a hook at the Beaver Lake about 3 Days paddle from this place."
1M39 B. 49/a/21
Apr. 5 1790
"David Thompson writing."
Cumberland House Malcolm Ross
June 5 1790
..." William Sabbeston the Bowsman of one of them was shot in the left Shoulder by the Gun of the Steersman hanging fire. I do not think it will prove mortal only 7 Shots having lodged in his Shoulder and they in an off sloping direction"
Cumberland House Journal 1791-92 complete here
Cumberland House Journal 1792-93 complete here
Cumberland House Journal 1793-94 complete here
Cumberland House Malcolm Ross
Jan. 13 1794
"A Journey up the Saskachewan by Malcolm Rofs"
The whole Journey is here
Cumberland House Magnus Twatt
June 9 1794
" I received the command of Cumberland house with the trading goods stores etc. from Mr. Malcolm Ross. and the following men are staying here all summer, Wm Hawkland,Mag. Spence, Henry Hay, the latter very ill, with Henry Hallet and James Swain Writer."
Mr.Tomison at Cumberland House to Joseph Colen at York Factory June 10, 1795
..." a more miserable set of men were never left Inland there being only James Spence and Magnus Spence that can fire a Gun so that we are laughed at by the meanest Canadian that came from Canada"...
List of Men written on a page dated 1796
" M. Oman
Excerpt from a letter by George Sutherland at Cumberland House to James Bird at Carlton House(Saskatchewan)
"Mr. Wright is preparing to go up with the Frenchmen to live with you as he has not yet learnt to live without eating"
Cumberland House Journal
May 23 1796
"Greedy Gut went away and to return again with Green Meat in five nights time"...
May 27 1796
..."Greedy Gut came in with 25 Geese"...
From the journal at Cumberland House.Peter Fidler, Master.
June 2, 1796
"Early this morning 2 canoes of Indians arrived loaded with meat for our House. These 2 men was known to be the principals in the murder of one of the Canadian men this last winter at Isle a la Crosse. Just as one had stepped out of his canoe(ie. Charles brother alias Beaver?) he was immediately seized by the Canadians who was ready to take him when he landed and they hauled him into their house. The other, called the Little Gut, had not disembarked when the other man was seized and he immediately pushed his canoe from the Shoar and paddled with all the haste he could to get out of the Canadians way. They immediately manned one of their canoes with 7 men besides Mr. Wm. McKay and pursued him, also sending several men along shoar armed to prevent his landing. They overtook him near the Old House where they fired and shot him dead. ??? the head. He finding himself so closely pursued that he had got all his Powder and Ball emptied into a logjam? loose before him ready to fire on those in the other? Canoe and as he was just turning round his canoe to take ayme at the Canadians when Mr. Mckay shot him dead. he had a deal of meat in the canoe when he was shot that he was bringing to our house to trade. they brought him back in the canoe dead and laid him upon the platform in their yard and went to question Charles' brother. he lay in the house with his hands tied and foaming at the mouth and appeared quite insensible. They then carried him out and placed him alittle while by the body? of him who lay dead but he seemed not to take the least notice. When they had carried him without the Gates he began to sing very loud and continued till he came to the tree where he was to be hung. They then made him confess everything with the rope about his neck which he did and informed of everyone who was accomplices with him. He said that he was the sole cause of the death of the Canadian and seemed perfectly satisfied that he deserved this ignominious death. After getting every information from him they desired him if he had anything to say concerning his Wife & Children. He said he had nothing to say on that head, but recomended his eldest son to the protection of Mr. Sutherland? which was the only request he made. They then hauled him up about 5 feet from the ground. He had not hung 3 minutes when he gave a great struggle and the rope broke that he was suspended by but he never afterwards moved. But they hung him up again as soon as the rope could be adjusted? and let? him hung one hour afterward before they cut him down. They then took both him that was shot and him that was hung and hauled them a little way from their house and let them lay."...
July 26 1796
" Mag. Spense can scarcely walk occaisioned by a swelled Foot which he got by a Sprain in Gill River on his pafsage up"
Cumberland House Journal
Sept 12 1796
..."2 women arrived with 12 Geese"..
Written in the margin:
Wis Kis Quew"
..."One of the Women that arrived here the 12th Inst. got stabbed in the back last Night when the Indians were drinking"
..." The Woman that got wounded went away with the Ind."...
Oct. 30 1796
Taylor making "a Coat & Trowsers for Mag Spence"
Feb. 3 1797
" Pemmican, 26 Bags 76 lbs each"
Feb. 10 1797
" sent 2 men to Stay at the Hunters Tent - sent Magnus Spence Ammunition"
Mar. 5 1797
" Mag. Spence John Forbest [or Forbert] & Mag. Yorston all came from below and brought everything with them as there are no Buffalo below, all the Grafs being eat up by them in the Summer and the ground has no grafs on it for the Buffalo to stay upon."
March 6, 1797
"Gave Magnus Spence for his Wife Children for making Parchment Skins as much as made 30 Pemmican bags and a great deal of line for tying up furrs."
Written in the margin:
Blanket 2 pt - 1
Ditto 1 pt - 1
Cloth Blue - 1 1/2
[Cloth] Aurora? - 1
Beads? of sorts com. - 3/4
Gartering yds? - 16
Knife yew - 1
Comb Ivory - 1
[Comb] horn - 1
Tob. brazil - yd 2/3
Mar 7 1797
... " Taylor making a small pair of Trowsers for Mag Spences boy"...
Mar. 22 1797
" gave Magnus Spence orders to pitch nearer the House - he is now tenting 32 Miles from the House."
May 11 1797
" The Yellow Bird came here he slept 3 nights in coming in."
Oct.16 1800 William Tomison at Cumberland House Reel 1M40
" Sent the two fishermen James Flett Taylor & William Isbester with dogs & sleds to draw the fish they had Caught, along shore upon the Ice, on their returning home in lieu of Coming round the bay as directed, James Flett & William Isbester cut short for the point to make a streight course for the House, they unfortunately fell into the Ice and the former was drowned and the other taken out not in his senses, what induced them to take this road surprises every one as their has not been a finer day for the last five weeks; where the man was drowned only 3 1/2 feet water."
William Isbester eventually died of his experience April 1, 1801 "without a groan".
Nov.9 1802 William Tomison Cumberland house Reel 1M40
"Between 7 & 8 PM eight men & two boys arrived from York Factory in a starving Condition and had it not been for a bag of Oatmeal and another of flour that they had as Cargo God only knows what would have been the result they were taken with Ice on the 13th of Oct. on a small Island in the Cedar Lake where nothing Existed but a few trees, they had a small piece of a net that they set which did not procure them above a meal in three days, and that but a very poor one, and what made the matter still worse, the flour they had served out at york was very bad, when they used it with water or in making fish broth, if they filled a dish of it, and stirred it as thick as it was pofsible for them to do, it would turn like water when it got hot. Its for truth if their be any thing bad at york its good enough for the Inlanders, this I have Experienced long ago, the last time I was there I had Bacon & Cheese given me that was so Bad that it put me from eating either Bacon or Cheese ever since, before your Honour's was pleased to send the Oatmeal out ready ground their was great Complaints from the men, that the oatmeal was nothing but husks owing to the fine part of the oatmeal being taken away as it was Ground. once at York I went to Inspect the same and found it every bit as bad was represented, on my telling the Chief of the Circumstance, I was told I should not Complain as I was not served with such; my reply was, that as I was a fellow servant and working as they did my wish was that they should be served with as good provisions as I had or how could I expect they would obey my orders in taking care of the Company's property."
Nov.22 1802 William Tomison Cumberland House Reel 1M40
"Sent five men to overhaul the nets and set two more, brought one sturgeon and a few small fish, we have 14 Nets set, each net measures 55 fathoms which in all make 770 fathoms and with all we do not make out five days in the week"...
Jan. 21 1803 Cumberland House William Tomison
"Nothing but Starvation in all Quarters, a bungee Indian and his family perished to death, the vermin had eat the woman who it seems had died first the man his son and Daughter were all in one place and the latter a girl of about ten years of age was not dead when the two men came to them she was laying at her fathers back her feet and ancles were frozen as hard as stone, they put her in a Sledge but before they got to the Beaver lake house she expired"
Feb. 19 1803 Cumberland House William Tomison
"...this afternoon a poor woman and three fatherlefs Children arrived almost starved with both hunger and Cold and how they are to be supported God only knows for we have not wherewith to support ourselves."
From James Sutherland at Cumberland House
Jan. 15 1807
"By the arrival of the fall canoes I was favoured with your letter of last fall. Your Order respecting Mr. Fidler is Complied with and I feel a particular satisfaction in being guided by his well directed Conduct and whatever he may point out shall be performed with pleasure on my part."..
Cumberland House Alex Kennedy?
June 30 1818
" Ka Ke Ke huggemow & Pame show thimu arrived from the Plains being two young men that left this last year to go to war on the Blackfeet. They have returned without a scalp of their enimies to Console them for the lofs of their time & the trouble they have been at."
June 8 1820 Cumberland House Reel 1M40
"The Govenor Mefser's Pruden Heron Rofs Haynes Boulton & Hutchinson with 10 Boats Loaded with furs & Provisions for York Factory left this place about 10 A.M. - The following officers & Men are left to pafs the Summer here viz. Mr. Holmes-Master - Mr. J. Isbister trader - James Sandison, John Skinner, James Spence, John Isbister, William McKinlay, James Snodie, Donald Thomson, John Budge and John Kirknefs. -Sent Tomie Humpherville & Wemeshae down to Norway House to bring up some supplies for this place -the Big Frog, Winter Child & flying Indian came in; brought 235 Rats and some green Meat - Men employed in turning over the Pemican - got 11 Sturgeon from the narrows."
Sept.3 1820 Cumberland House Reel 1M40
" This morning John Isbister and Joseph L'afrequin went to visit the Nets; and unfortunately upset their Canoe, having struggled for the space of two hours by keeping hold of the Canoe the wind blowing strong from the shore at last their cries were heard by some of the NWC people who came to give us notice of the circumstance; we immediately sent off a Boat to their afsistance, they found John Isbister still holding by the Canoe quite exhausted; from him they learned that some time before, finding they could not both save Themselves by holding the Canoe which was constantly sinking under them; the other man being a good Swimmer, proposed swimming to the net poles where might hold till some one came to their relief; but on coming to these poles it was found that the unfortunate man had failed in his attempt; every search was made for his body, but to no avail."
They found the body of "Joseph L'Africane" Sept 25 1823.
June 25 1823 Cumberland House James Leith as Master Reel 1M40
" Received from the  Indians that arrived yesterday 1760 Musquash, & gave them a little Rum to drink; their conduct however during the day was exceeding turbulent, & even made a hostile attack on myself & three men, determined were they succefsful, to Pillage the house; in this however they were disappointed for a good drubbing is all they got for their trouble."
June 26 1823
" Fitted out the whole of the Indians and got them off; having met one of our Cows in the track, they out of revenge Cut off a piece of her tail."